ECE 1673: Linear Control Systems (4 Credits, Spring 2024)


Description: Introduction to feedback control systems, mathematical models, dynamical systems response and identification, system types, steady-state errors, root locus analysis and design, Bode plots, Nyquist theory and frequency domain compensation techniques, and introduction to modern control design. Includes Matlab/Simulink labs.


Time and Place: Tuesday 6 pm-8:30 pm and Thursday 6 pm-8:30 pm; 1223B&C Benedum Hall 




Prof. Zhi-Hong Mao


(Office hours) Monday 3:30 pm-5 pm

(Zoom link)


Teaching Assistant:


Leopoldo Agorio



Text: Charles L. Phillips and John M. Parr, Feedback Control Systems, 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2011.


Course Evaluation:


Homework: 15%

Lab report: 15%

Midterm I: 15%

Midterm II: 15%

Final exam: 30%

Class participation: 10%


Schedule for Lectures:






1/9 Tu

Lecture 1: Course organization; introduction to control systems


Chapter 1

1/11 Th


Lecture 2: Mathematical foundation


Chapter 2 and Appendix B

1/16 Tu

Lecture 3: System modeling; block diagrams


Chapter 2


1/18 Th

Lecture 4: System responses of first-order systems


Chapter 4

1/23 Tu

Lecture 5: System responses of second-order systems


Chapter 5

1/25 Th

Lecture 6: Stability; disturbances and sensitivity


Chapter 5

1/30 Tu


Lecture 7: System types; steady-state accuracy; transient response


Chapters 5 and 6

2/1 Th

Lecture 8: More on stability analysis; introduction to root locus


Chapters 6 and 7

2/6 Tu

Lecture 9: Root locus rules


Chapter 7

2/8 Th

Lecture 10: Root locus examples


Chapter 7

2/13 Tu

Lecture 11: Recitation



2/15 Th


Lecture 12: Practice problems for Midterm I





2/20 Tu

Midterm I



2/22 Th

Lecture 13: Phase-lead compensator and phase-lag compensator; PID control


Chapter 7

2/27 Tu

Lecture 14: Frequency response analysis; Bode diagrams


Chapter 8

2/29 Th

Lecture 15: Bode diagram examples

Chapter 8




3/5 Tu

Lecture 16: Nyquist criterion


Chapter 8

3/7 Th

Lecture 17: Examples of Nyquist diagram


Chapter 8

3/12 Tu

3/14 Th


No class (spring break)

No class (spring break)


3/19 Tu

Lecture 18: More examples of Nyquist diagram


Chapter 8

3/21 Th


Lecture 19: Recitation


3/26 Tu

Lecture 20: Practice problems for Midterm II



3/28 Th

Midterm II



4/2 Tu

Lecture 21: Frequency response design (I): cascade compensation


Chapter 9

4/4 Th

Lecture 22: Frequency response design (II): gain compensation


Chapter 9

4/9 Tu

Lecture 23: Frequency response design (III): phase-lag compensation


Chapter 9

4/11 Th


Lecture 24: Frequency response design (IV): phase-lead compensation


Chapter 9

4/16 Tu


Lecture 25: Frequency response design (V): lag-lead compensation and PID control


Chapter 9

4/18 Th

Lecture 26: Course review





4/23 Tu

Final exam (6 pm-8 pm)




Schedule for Labs:



Due date



Lab 1: Simulation of continuous casting


1/23 Tu (Lecture 5)

Lab 2: Simulation and analysis of system stability


2/13 Tu (Lecture 11)

Lab 3: PID tuning (Supplemental note: PID control)


3/21 Th (Lecture 19)

Lab 4: Phase shift oscillator


4/19 Th (Lecture 26)



Course Policies:


Academic Integrity


Students in this course will be expected to comply with the University of Pittsburgh's Policy on Academic Integrity and the Swanson School of Engineering Policy. Any student suspected of violating this obligation for any reason during the semester will be required to participate in the procedural process, initiated at the instructor level, as outlined in the University Guidelines on Academic Integrity. This may include, but is not limited to, the confiscation of the examination of any individual suspected of violating University Policy. Furthermore, no student may bring any unauthorized materials to an exam, including dictionaries and programmable calculators.


To learn more about Academic Integrity, visit the Academic Integrity Guide for an overview of the topic. For hands- on practice, complete the Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial.


Disability Services


If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 140 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890,, (412) 228-5347 for P3 ASL users, as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.


Statement on Classroom Recording


To ensure the free and open discussion of ideas, students may not record classroom lectures, discussion and/or activities without the advance written permission of the instructor, and any such recording properly approved in advance can be used solely for the student's own private use.


Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys 


Students in this class will be asked to complete a Student Opinion of Teaching Survey. Surveys will be sent via Pitt email and appear on your Canvas landing page during the last three weeks of class meeting days. Your responses are anonymous. Please take time to thoughtfully respond, your feedback is important to me. Read more about Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys.


Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


The University of Pittsburgh does not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, familial status, sex, age, sexual orientation, veteran status or gender identity or other factors as stated in the University's Title IX policy. The University is committed to taking prompt action to end a hostile environment that interferes with the University's mission. For more information about policies, procedures, and practices, visit the Civil Rights & Title IX Compliance web page.


I ask that everyone in the class strive to help ensure that other members of this class can learn in a supportive and respectful environment. If there are instances of the aforementioned issues, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, by calling 412-648-7860, or e-mailing Reports can also be filed online. You may also choose to report this to a faculty/staff member; they are required to communicate this to the University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. If you wish to maintain complete confidentiality, you may also contact the University Counseling Center (412-648-7930).